Sunday, June 7, 2009

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What if God Hates our Worship?

I listened to a wonderful sermon this morning based on Psalm 50. There were many great points, but the one idea that stuck with me was this: Israel's problem was not that they were unfaithful in the activities surrounding worship. Rather, it was that the worship itself lacked the one quality God most desired: it didn't come from nor feed back into lives lived in loving and sincere obedience to Him. This idea brings to mind Samuel's familiar charge to Saul:

Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
Animal sacrifice lies outside our present experience, of course. Yet clearly we must be willing to apply this to the "stuff" (preaching, programs, songs, buildings, clothes, etc.) of our worship.

What if our worship works great for us, but God hates it, because when he scratches down below the surface, he recognizes it's all about us?

12 comments:

  1. Definitely something to ponder and take to heart. I find myself circling back to this very question in different seasons of life. It is so easy to end up doing worship out of "wrote mechanics". But that is worth nothing to Him or to me.
    And for me, I'd like to add that it is not just singing and praying that is worship to God. All things that we do can be considered worship. Our attitudes in serving one another and attending to our responsibilities....when giving it our all with a joyful and open heart with the knowledge that He set that task in front of us to accomplish......I believe that is also worship.

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  2. I am constantly drawn back to Amos 5:21-24. God wants our heart and our lives - not just our words!

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  3. I was just studying Ps 50 a couple days ago. What a great Word!

    I am learning that God is quite aware of our 'human condition' and sin that so easily besets us. He loves that we even try to love Him and worship Him in return for what He does for us and through us. It is the Holy Spririt that draws us into his Love and Beauty and that even allows us the Revelation. It is Grace, and not from anything we can do...except allow Him to have His way with us...Attention/Intention/Permission...is what He asks, and He will do the Divine Work in us! Blessings,

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  4. I've played lead guitar in worship teams in the TC area for the last two decades, do outreach, write worship and praise music, and also perform some undefinable stuff (here's our latest video of the "undefinable stuff"):

    [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtgRR3behgs|leo://plh/http%3A*3*3www%2Eyoutube%2Ecom*3watch%3Fv%3DJtgRR3behgs/lSXA?_t=tracking_disc ]

    ...what you've described is a CONSTANT concern.

    I'm so glad you brought it up Ray - because I somedays get literally sickened by the pretense I've seen all too many times - sometimes in myself!!... obviously God must have a lot more mercy and grace than I... my advice would be if you aren't in communion to the point where it really IS about Him... you'll want to recogonize it ASAP and "make the flight corrections".

    Worshipping in Spirit and in TRUTH is MUCH more important than anything else... if it's not for Him - it's really, really sad & you might as well go watch TV or something.

    You know I think the devil likes to get folks in a building called a church and then distract them from actually BEING the church!

    Awesome topic!

    Your brother in arms,

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  5. One of my greatest concerns for the church today is the way we shout nonsense to a loud and rhythmic tune.

    Personally, I'd be elated to come into a church service where we worshipped by being still and knowing that He is God.

    Don't get me wrong: I love my church - this is a problem in every church that I have been part of over 20 years. When the Spirit isn't moving, let's turn up the volume!!

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  6. Very true Ian, when the still small voice cannot be heard - all is for naught.

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  7. I have to qualify my statements there Keith, because I was in "blunt mode" when I wrote that. One of the great contributions that the church has given to the world is the gift of music and arts. Few people know that system of musical composure was developed by a Christian monk, as a means of incorporating all of the vocal and instrumental pieces he wanted to create. Without this, written music and orchestration as we know it today could not be possible.

    Peotry and music are integral to the Bible, from the earliest writings. But, I think that Raymond's point is well taken that God may be bored and offended by the way that we have made music the center piece of worship. Most churches (mine included) have put a band or choir up front, to perform for us in an audience; which is completely wrong. Worship is about us performing for God - an audience of one.

    This was made very poignently for me at a funeral I attended some years ago in a more traditional-liturgical church. At the benediction, we were to sing a hymn and I was completely rocked to my core with worship when the choir - above and unseen behind me - led into the hymn. I felt like heaven itself was joining with me to worship God. Rather than being a distraction, as most singers on the platform can be, it was a boon to my own sense of worship to God - who was my audience.

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  8. Sounds good, and I agree with everything you've said Ian. I guess I didn't even recognize blunt mode because I agree with it 100%

    Good to see you too've been participant in the unseen choir, nothing in our giftings like it is there? Nothing else compares to God.

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  9. I am new to this group so you all seem to know each other, but I think you all sound so negative and judgmental even about yourselves. Perhaps what your hearts is seeking is the quiet still silent time with Lord. Too much noise and busyness is the tool of the enemy; as John Eldredge says to keep us from experiencing and loving God.
    I would suggest you all look into the Contemplative Prayer movement that says the most pure and closest prayer to God is slience; taking 20-30 min one or two times a day and literally sitting allowing nothing to distract you from the silence and waiting on the HS to speak to your spirit. What an amazing experience and healing..without words.

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  10. Hello Carla,
    I'm not sure I'd put it quite that way. First of all, not all "negativity" is necessarily "judgmental", particularly where it leads to exposing sin and then to spiritual growth. I actually blogged about this a couple of weeks ago (http://philippianjailer.blogspot.com/2009/05/dont-judge-me-dude.html).

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  11. Jesus said in John 4:23 that, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and truth.” In my study bible, it states in the margins that “Genuine worship involves both fact and faith. Truth means that we are to worship the right God –the God revealed in the Bible through Jesus Christ. Spirit means that true worship demands more than just outward motions. It is an inner submission of oneself to God. It notes to see Romans 12:1. Romans 12:1 states: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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  12. Worship to me, is walking in the bush or viewing a stunning sunset and being appreciative of His creation, and quietly thanking Him. Or seeing a brother/sister in need and responding with care and kind words,and inviting Christ into that situation. Or stopping my car when I see a potentially serious obstacle (half tyre/plank/...) in the middle of a busy highway, waiting with care for a space in the traffic and removing the log to prevent what might have been a serious accident, enveloping the whole with thoughts towards Him. Or walking along a beach with other Christian friends, focussing our talking on scripture and what it means for us in our life. Or sipping a nice coffee in a cafe with other Christian friends, giving thanks to him for the food, and sharing recent testimonies of His amazing grace. Or singing in the Spirit a new song on my piano that tumbles out as I worship Him, and singing another new song and another, all of them based on His word and my life in Him, and then next day another and another. No songs ever repeated because they just flow out spontaneously from my appreciation of Him. Or walking along the beach and writing evangelistic messages in the sand for others to read and talking with a few who stop to read them.

    This for me is worship. Honestly, I don't do this every day, but it is my desire.

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